Testing & Diagnosis for Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis in Children

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How is Langerhans cell histiocytosis diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, the most conclusive diagnostic procedure for LCH is a biopsy—a single tissue sample through a simple surgical procedure.

Your child will likely have various imaging studies that will include one or more of the following:

  • X-ray - X-rays are the first diagnostic study, and often give your doctor information regarding the need for further testing.
  • Bone scans - A nuclear imaging method used to determine the cause of bone inflammation. This test does not distinguish between tumor, infection or fractures.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - This test produces detailed images of organs and other structures in your child’s body.
  • Computerized tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) - A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
  • liver or bone marrow biopsy - Sample tissue from these areas of the body can be helpful in determining how much of your child’s body is affected by LCH.

Your child’s doctor may also ask for a complete blood count and other blood chemistry tests that can provide further help in making a diagnosis.

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